Zero-Tolerance for Venues Displaying Prohibited Gaming Signage

December 5, 2023 | Advertising

SYDNEY, Australia (December 4, 2023) — Liquor & Gaming NSW (L&GNSW) has begun the third and final stage of a compliance program targeting prohibited gaming signage displayed at venues across the state, with a zero-tolerance approach now in force.

L&GNSW has already taken a range of enforcement action, including ordering two venues to remove newly installed signage that tried to circumvent the ban by using imagery extremely similar to visuals used on electronic gaming machines.

As of 1 December, escalated enforcement action will now be taken against any venue found to have any illegal signage. Prohibited signage includes both external gaming-related signage, and internal gaming-related signage that can be seen from outside the venue.

L&GNSW inspectors identified large external signs at the Royal Hotel at Granville using cartoon imagery promoting the hotel’s restaurant, ‘Mr Choy’s Wok’. The imagery used by the hotel is similar to that used in the ‘Choy’s Kingdom’ electronic gaming machine.

The licensee was issued a statutory direction under section 75 of the Liquor Act, requiring that all signage and material using the imagery be changed or removed . The licensee has complied with the direction, but has applied for this decision to be reviewed by the Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority.

Inspectors also identified a digital archway around the external gaming room entrance of the Stardust Hotel at Cabramatta, which contained animations of a panda holding and chewing on a branch or plant similar to those used in the ‘Panda Magic’ electronic gaming machine. The licensee was issued a statutory direction to cease the use of the digital archway, which has been complied with.

Minister for Gaming and Racing David Harris said L&GNSW will no longer accept any reason for a delay in the removal of prohibited signage or the installation of new signage that attempts to highlight the presence of electronic gaming machines.

“Any signage that attempts to circumvent the prohibition on gambling-related signage will be met with an escalated enforcement response. This includes the use of animations, symbols or characters commonly associated with gambling, poker machine graphics or gambling franchises,” Mr Harris said.

“Since the ban took effect in September, Liquor & Gaming inspectors have attended over 1,200 venues across 53 local government areas (LGAs) in NSW, including 19 regional LGAs, which represents over 55% of the venues in the state that hold gaming machine entitlements. Inspections have indicated a compliance rate of 99% for external gaming related signage.

“By now, venue operators should have a full understanding of the requirements and all illegal signage should be removed. Removing this signage is just one important part of our commitment to gambling reform to reduce harm and tackle money laundering head on in NSW.”

The maximum penalty for those who fail to remove their signs and breach the Gaming Machines Act is $11,000, per offence. Failing to comply with a statutory direction issued under the Liquor Act is also an offence that attracts a maximum penalty of $11,000. Both offences are grounds for disciplinary action.

Since March, the NSW Government has also:

  • Reduced the cash input limit from $5,000 to $500 for all new poker machines from 1 July
  • Reduced the state-wide cap on gaming machine entitlements by approximately 3,000
  • Banned political donations from clubs involved in gaming
  • Established the independent panel to oversee a comprehensive trial of cashless gaming in NSW

For more information on gambling related signage removal, please find L&GNSW’s position paper here.

SOURCE: Liquor & Gaming NSW (L&GNSW).

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